Ken Jennings Is Jeopardy's Greatest of All Time

Jennings was quickest on the buzzer, the most accurate clue answerer, and didn’t miss a Daily Double until a tense final game with James Holzhauer.
January 15, 2020, 1:59am
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Image: ABC

Ken Jennings is Jeopardy’s Greatest of All Time after winning the GOAT tournament's fourth night. James Holzhauer made it a nailbiter, while Brad Rutter may as well have not even been there.

Jennings won three of the four matches, with Holzhauer winning one match. Rutter, who prior to the GOAT tournament had never lost to a human opponent, got absolutely wrecked throughout the tournament.

Jennings got a huge break in the first game of the night, doubling his score on a massive Daily Double bet in the night’s first game. He opened up a huge lead by doubling up again in the first game’s Final Jeopardy. Holzhauer hit a huge Daily Double in the second game, and has a chance to win, but he blew Final Jeopardy in the game’s second match.

Jennings, who won a record 74 consecutive Jeopardy matches in 2004, was the tournament’s quickest on the buzzer, most accurate clue answerer, and didn’t miss a Daily Double until his final game. By that time, his lead was insurmountable.

Rutter, meanwhile, struggled at buzzing in, got many clues wrong, and repeatedly reset his score to zero with incorrect answers on Daily Doubles and in Final Jeopardy. Rutter was so bad that, at one point, he became a punchline. Before starting the night’s second game, the contestants’ first game scores flashed on their scorecards. Rutter’s showed zero; when the scores reset for the second game, Holzhauer joked: “Hey, Brad’s score is still on there!”

Despite Jennings’s dominance, the GOAT tournament was lots of fun. The three players and host Alex Trebek have a great rapport and Holzhauer and Jennings played Jeopardy at level worthy of a Greatest of All Time tournament. It was great appointment, primetime television, and it had stakes we’re unlikely to see for a long time.

“I don’t mean to be negative, but this is probably the last time we’ll see the three of you competing on this program,” Trebek said. That’s a bummer, because it was Jeopardy at its best.

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